I recently added six new and different classes to my gym timetable at Fuller Fitness, with yoga being one of them. I’ve quickly found out that yoga is not just yoga, with many of my members asking me what type of yoga class we are offering.
Now I know yoga is an Indian spiritual practise used to enhance mental and physical wellbeing and building strength. But doing some quick research, I have learnt there are many types and forms of yoga, that between them have more than a hundred yoga poses and variations. The one form of yoga I found very interesting was Bikram Yoga.
Bikram Yoga is a system of yoga poses that Bikram Choudhury - founder of the yoga college in India, has been practising from as early as 1950. Bikram classes run for a duration of 90 minutes and consist of a set series of 26 postural positions and 2 breathing exercises. Bikram Yoga is performed in a room heated to around 40 degrees with a humidity of 40%. Working out in a heated studio has a lot of positive benefits, but there are also certain health risks involved that you should be aware of.
The positive benefits of Bikram Yoga are:
The heat enables you to gain a deeper stretch, giving you greater flexibility, while reducing stress and tension as well as lowering the chance of injury
Stimulates and increases blood circulation, enhancing oxygen absorption to muscles, ligaments and tendons
Improves overall strength and balance while promoting healthy weight loss
Aides in greater posture, concentration and mental clarity, rejuvenating the entire body
The negative health risks that could be associated with Bikram Yoga are:
Dehydration from excessive sweating
Hypothermia (overheating of the body)
Other symptoms may also include, nausea, dizziness and/or fainting
May affect people with certain heart conditions.
Bikram Yoga provides a challenging environment that increases your strength and cardiovascular endurance, giving you greater stamina and flexibility. You will need to seek medical advice prior to starting Bikram Yoga if you are pregnant, have heart problems, high blood pressure or are on any form of medication to ensure that working out in high temperatures is safe for you to do so.
My recommendation is research and ask as many questions as you feel to be comfortable in your decision to find out which yoga best suits your needs and purpose.
Just for the record, the type of yoga I offer is Vinyasa Yoga which is synchronising your breathing with movement and has a more intense stretching routine done towards the end of the class.